Document Detail

Stress, the HPA axis, and nonhuman primate well-being: A review.
MedLine Citation:
PMID:  23459687     Owner:  NLM     Status:  Publisher    
Numerous stressors are routinely encountered by wild-living primates (e.g., food scarcity, predation, aggressive interactions, and parasitism). Although many of these stressors are eliminated in laboratory environments, other stressors may be present in that access to space and social partners is often restricted. Stress affects many physiological systems including the hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenocortical (HPA) axis, which is the focus of this review. The glucocorticoid, cortisol, is the ultimate output of this system in nonhuman primates, and levels of this hormone are used as an index of stress. Researchers can measure cortisol from several sampling matrices that include blood, saliva, urine, faeces, and hair. A comparison of the advantages and disadvantages of each sampling matrix is provided to aid researchers in selecting an optimal strategy for their research. Stress and its relationship to welfare have been examined in nonhuman primates using two complimentary approaches: comparing baseline cortisol levels under different conditions, or determining the reactivity of the system through exposure to a stressor. Much of this work is focused on colony management practices and developmental models of abnormal behaviour. Certain colony practices are known to increase stress at least temporarily. Both blood sampling and relocation are examples of this effect, and efforts have been made to reduce some of the more stressful aspects of these procedures. In contrast, other colony management practices such as social housing and environmental enrichment are hypothesized to reduce stress. Testing this hypothesis by comparing baseline cortisol levels has not proved useful, probably due to "floor" effects; however, social buffering studies have shown the powerful role of social housing in mitigating reactions of nonhuman primates to stressful events. Models of abnormal behaviour come from two sources: experimentally induced alterations in early experience (e.g., nursery rearing), and the spontaneous development of behavioural pathology (e.g., self-injurious behaviour). Investigators have often assumed that abnormal behaviour is a marker for stress and thus such monkeys are predicted to have higher cortisol levels than controls. However, an emerging finding is that monkeys with abnormal behaviour are more likely to show a pattern of lowered cortisol concentrations which may reflect either an altered set point or a blunting of the stress response system. These findings parallel human clinical studies demonstrating that neuropsychiatric disorders may be associated with either increased or decreased activity of the HPA system, depending on the aetiology and manifestation of the disorder and their potential influence in provoking allostatic shifts in system functioning.
Melinda A Novak; Amanda F Hamel; Brian J Kelly; Amanda M Dettmer; Jerrold S Meyer
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Publication Detail:
Journal Detail:
Title:  Applied animal behaviour science     Volume:  143     ISSN:  0168-1591     ISO Abbreviation:  Appl. Anim. Behav. Sci.     Publication Date:  2013 Jan 
Date Detail:
Created Date:  2013-3-5     Completed Date:  -     Revised Date:  -    
Medline Journal Info:
Nlm Unique ID:  8504276     Medline TA:  Appl Anim Behav Sci     Country:  -    
Other Details:
Languages:  ENG     Pagination:  135-149     Citation Subset:  -    
Department of Psychology, 135 Hicks Way, University of Massachusetts, Amherst MA 01002-9271, USA.
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